Rewatching early DS9 knowing that Bashir is genetically enhanced

Discussion in 'Deep Space Nine' started by datalogan, May 9, 2011.

  1. datalogan

    datalogan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I get such a kick out of watching DS9 in general, of course.
    But one thing I've been enjoying in particular recently is rewatching the series looking for interesting character development of Julian Bashir knowing that he is genetically enhanced and covering it up (even though the writers and actors didn't know this at the time).

    I thought we could share our insights into interesting Bashir episodes (or just moments) in this thread.
     
  2. datalogan

    datalogan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Obviously in general you can say that Bashir was hiding some of his more advanced abilities (like racketball, tennis, dart throwing, rapid mental calculations) all of his life. But I think that he probably never really held back when working on medical problems. He would never have been OK with people dieing just so that he could keep his genetic enhancements secret. I think that his memory skills and hand-eye-coordination, etc, all those skills that made him a great doctor, had been enhanced to a great level certainly, but not to a level beyond possibility for a non-enhanced person.

    Laypeople understand so little about medicine anyway. Most laypeople see doctors as already amazing and magical. No matter what outrageous things he does (like bringing people back from the dead; mentioned early on in "The Passenger") most people will just think he's just like all other doctors. It's only when he does things to get the attention of other doctors (like graduating at the top of his class would have; or like being the youngest person to be nominated for the Carrington Award in "Prophet Motive") that he needs to worry too much about what he does in medicine.

    It's the enhanced non-medicine things that he does that cause him more problems.
     
  3. datalogan

    datalogan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Remember the short scene at the beginning of "A Man Alone" where Bashir tries his hand at the Altonian brain teaser that Dax had been trying to master for over 140 years?

    He tries the game (with Dax present) and does horribly. She jokes that he must have "something on his mind" and then leaves, but encourages him to try the game again. As the scene ends we hear Bashir say "computer, reset" but we don't see his next attempt at the game.

    I think that with Bashir's genetically enhanced and structured mind that this game would actually not be all that difficult for him. Although not shown on screen, I think that when he tried the game again (alone in the room so he doesn't have to worry about what people are seeing) that he easily wins.

    And we never again see Bashir trying the game. It's too easy for him.
     
  4. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In the very first scene of "The Passenger", Kira expresses shock about Julian reviving someone even though the tricorder scan pronounced them dead.

    Julian shrugs it off as knowledge that tricorders aren't infallable, or something to that effect.

    Of course...it's that Julian's enhanced intellect allowed him to pick up signs too faint for the tricorder. ;)
     
  5. Lateralus

    Lateralus Commander Red Shirt

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    The one detail which I believe makes obvious the fact that Julian was retroactively written as a genetically enhanced character is his cockiness early on in the series. Knowing the character as we came to, I don't think he'd have been quite so snarky at the gitgo had he been hiding such a thing.
     
  6. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    Of course, when he says that tricorders are very good with living people, not so good with dead people, it leads to a problem.

    If he really was still alive yet the tricorder showed him as dead, then it would seem that tricorders aren't very good with living people after all!
     
  7. datalogan

    datalogan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I think there are some retroactive reasons for why Bashir gloats a bit about significant medical events like reviving that dead guy in the beginning of "The Passenger"

    (1) It really is a pretty impressive thing, and genetically enhanced or not, Bashir is young and wants to get some credit. Maybe a least part of him really wants the acknowledgment of his great deeds.
    (2) Maybe Bashir thinks that he can actually distract people away from the great dead (which might lead people to question his abilities) by gloating a little too much and therefore distracting people by having them think he's a annoying stuck-up know-it-all

    Either way, it relies on Bashir being a very good judge of the people he talks with.
    Can you just imagine what his life is like, constantly having to lie to people and judge how they react to those lies?

    I always thought it was weird in the early seasons how he was a bit of a ladies-man with women (like at the beginning of "Q-Less"), but everyone else thought he was a stuck-up kid they didn't want to hang out with, and he was always so clueless when it came to dealing with Garak.

    I think Bashir, even early on, is much more capable of being tactful in situations and controlling conversations they way he wants them to go. He would need to have honed those skills a little to keep his secret. But he almost purposely acts up a little too much (too annoying, or too proud, or too whimpy) to keep people off-kelter.

    In early seasons the only people he ever uses his full-blown conversation skills on are the women he dated. He is a young man after all, into sex as much as any other (as far as we get on TV).

    But I would/could also argue that Bashir is really still trying to find a balance. Still trying to know how much to lie and how much to reveal his true self. Remember, he didn't even know about his own genetic enhancement until he was 15 (stated in "Doctor Bashir, I Presume"). So his genetic enhancements couldn't really be all that much beyond regular people, or he would/could have been found out earlier. Maybe in these early seasons he really is what he seems, a brilliant young man trying to find a balance between pride in his work and modesty, while only occasionally worrying about getting "found out".
     
  8. datalogan

    datalogan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    In "Q-Less" we learn that Bashir mistook a preganglionic fiber for a postganglionic nerve during the oral exam phase of his Starfleet Medical finals.

    Obviously any first year medical student would not likely mistake a preganglionic fiber for a postganglionic nerve. So it's likely that Bashir threw the question on purpose so that he would not be valedictorian. Maybe, like any person in that position, he just did it because he was nervous about being valedictorian and wanted to let someone else take the title.

    But maybe he threw the question on purpose because he thought the valedictorian title might lead to too much scrutiny. Even the salutatorian title got him the position he wanted out on the frontier.

    In fact, maybe he wanted to work out on the frontier because it kept him away from other doctors who might question his brilliance, some think the "simple locals" wouldn't do as much (as stated in "Emissary"). Although some locals did see his brillance, like in "Babel", when Surmak Ren noted his great work.
     
  9. datalogan

    datalogan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    In "The Passenger"

    Maybe the only reason Rao Vantika's technique for imprinting his conscience onto a human brain was because it was Bashir's genetically engineered brain that already had a great sense of compartmentalization.

    And Rao Vantika noted that he really liked his "new body" when he was inside Bashir. Maybe he was noting Bashir's genetically enhanced abilities (without even really knowing that they were enhanced because he'd never been in a normal human body).
     
  10. datalogan

    datalogan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    In "Move Along Home", I wonder what Bashir was actually going screaming in the game when Sisko, Kira, and Dax found him.

    Maybe his genetic enhancements allowed him to determine that he was actually in an artificial construct (which he couldn't share with his shipmates because he couldn't explain how he knew) and he was trying a technique to get himself out of the mental construct. He does say that he was "trying to wake himself up", which sounds like a ridiculous young man to the others, but may have been as truthful as he could let on at the time.
     
  11. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I've heard this point before, but I don't really get it. What's the difference if his genetic gifts are natural or artificial? They're still genetic gifts either way. He still put in the work and years to be a doctor.
     
  12. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Commodore Commodore

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    For the most part, we're SUPPOSED to believe that Starfleet people are a cut above average to begin with. Officers, anyway - most of them go through a greuling application and testing process before they even get to the academy. Point being, that between hundreds of episodes of Trek it's easy to assume that most officers are pretty brilliant to begin with.

    So, Bashir pulling incredible cures to alien diseases isn't THAT much of a stretch, nor should it be. What *I* mostly remember of his early years was more his cocky nature and social awkwardness, which is perfectly natural for a young and brilliantly nerdy Doctor who spent much of his last decade in classrooms or med school. You don't need to be genetically engineered for that, and I'm sure that's what the writers were thinking when they retconned his DNA into the show.

    Mark
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Do they? Apart from Wes Crusher, who competed in the underage boy wonder category, "demanding tests" don't get much mention. Nog faced some, but nothing out of the ordinary; a couple of years before the successful entry, the boy couldn't even read! Picard or Riker never mentioned demanding entry exams. In at least one reality, Kirk was dragged into Starfleet literally kicking and screaming, his "entry exam" being a bar fight (which he lost)!

    There might be a collection of overachievers aboard the Federation Flagship, but Kirk's, Sisko's or Janeway's crew never seemed to consist of just the best and the brightest.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. datalogan

    datalogan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The most interesting episode to rewatch knowing about Bashir's genetic enhancements, in my opinion, is "Our Man Bashir".

    Bashir, who leaves a real life as a multi-faceted man with secrets that he hides from everyone, wishes to escape into a place where he can really be himself and use his abilities to their fullest potential. Secret agent man program seems perfect. Interacting with a lot of different people using different personas (which allows him to hone his conversational skills, which are really a lot better than he lets on), high-speed mental calculations (with the right story), card counting, sharpshooting using his high hand-eye-coordination.

    So he sets up some free time to be with himself. Sets the program difficulty up really high so it's challenging. (Most people would set the program so that they win the card game without trying, but Bashir had it set up so that he had to card count a 5 deck set to do it, just to challenge himself, etc.) Then Garak shows up and Bashir has a dilemma. No problem, he thinks, I just get rid of Garak or secretly lower the difficulty level so that he doesn't see me doing these amazing things and getting too suspicious. But then the transporter/computer problems takes both of those choices away from him. So he's stuck having to continue with the program set at a risky high difficulty level to save his friends' lives, all why hiding his abilities from Garak . . . all while keeping Garak off-balance enough to not notice.

    It plays out really well.
    And Bashir comes across even more impressive when you view the episode this way.
     
  15. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^You know...I haven't thought of that--but you're spot-on with that!

    Funny--note how Garak acts as if the whole things is so rediculous and absurd. In reality, though, it's just that Julian's making it look easy (and therefore simplistic) when it's not.
     
  16. datalogan

    datalogan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    In "Armageddon Game" I wonder just how much Bashir actually knows about the subspace transceiver that he's not letting on the O'Brien. Ultimately it doesn't matter, however, because it's not repairable anyway.
     
  17. datalogan

    datalogan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Most of the episode "Distant Voices" plays out in Bashir's genetically enhanced mind. Perhaps the only reason Bashir was able to defeat Altovar's attack was because Bashir was enhanced. It's interesting how even though Altovar is inside Bashir's mind, he still doesn't fully understand Bashir's status as a genetically enhanced man in hiding. (This is similar to when Rao Vantika was inside Bashir's head in "The Passenger".) Altovar confronts Bashir about his past failures – the way he quit tennis to become a doctor because his parents would not approve, the way he intentionally missed a question so he would be second rather than first in his class because of the pressure. What was it Bashir's parents didn't approve about tennis? Did they not want Julian to squander the gifts that they presumably paid good hard-earned curency for? Or were they worried that the life of a super-star tennis play would make it more likely that his genetically engineered status would be found out? And, as has been previously discussed, Bashir probably threw that fiber/nerve question not just to avoid the pressure of being valedictorian, but the pressure of possibly be found out as enhanced (and therefore a bit of a cheat).
     
  18. JaxsBrokenHeart

    JaxsBrokenHeart Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    The genetic enhancement thing really does work well with Our Man Bashir especially at the end when Julian shoots at Garak and it seems like Bashir was willing to shoot him, but the bullet didn't hit.

    In hindsight its obvious he intentionally missed as a warning and played it off like he meant to actually hit Garak (which given his gifts abilities would have been easy).
     
  19. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah many things about Bashir in DS9, before he was discovered to be genetically enhanced, seem a little odd. But then Bashir did do his best to hide his background, and not showing off was one of them. Still even with his genetically enhanced brain he was no engineer, as shown in that microchip scene in One Little Ship.

    This explains why Bashir needed to be guided through repairing that subspace transceiver, in Armageddon Game, needed to be talked through the whole repair process by O'Brien.
     
  20. defiantfan

    defiantfan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I always thought the episode "HomeFront" gave the best clue when Odo offered to check on Bashir's family on Earth and Bashir quickly put the idea to rest. I remember thinking about that moment when I saw the revelation.